On Wednesday night, the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force approved new boundaries
for five ANCs in Ward 6, with a map that keeps Near Southeast together, and keeps it in ANC 6D. However, it also included, as an "option for additional research," preparing Single Member District options that both keep Near Southeast as part of 6D (the Southwest ANC) or move it to 6B (the Capitol Hill ANC).
The committee will have a meeting on Aug. 8 at 6:30 pm to discuss this option along with two other options they are mulling elsewhere in the ward, and have posted on their blog polls for residents to vote on the options under consideration.
Before Wednesday's vote, Near Southeast's current ANC commissioner David Garber sent an open letter to the task force
, indicating that his consituents have made clear that their interests lie with the areas north of the freeway where so many of them eat and shop: "As much as we are similarly scaled and share interests with the Southwest community, residents of Near Southeast simply do not associate with that community in the same way they do with Capitol Hill." And, along with this, he says that residents have made very clear that Near Southeast should not get split between the two ANCs. Garber has also started imploring his constituents (on his mailing list and Facebook page) to make their feelings known to the task force.
The numbers portion of this discussion is worth looking at--right now, ANC 6D07's 2,737 census-counted residents make up 18.8 percent of ANC 6D's population of 14,359. if you move all of those 2,737 residents out of 6D, that leaves the Southwest ANC with 11,622 residents, which will give it only six commissioners, and the layout of the neighborhood would make for a tough set-up to have all the single-member districts reflect the desired 2,000-count population, or even the 1,900 low-end-of-the-range target.
If you move those 2,737 residents to 6B, it ends up with 22,954 residents, which again will make for some interesting decisions on SMD population counts, and would also make 6B at least an 11-SMD ANC, compared to the other Ward 6 ANCs having as few as five or up to nine commissioners. It would also mean that Near Southeast would make up 11.9 percent of 6B's population.
It's also possible the task force could still decide to divvy up Near Southeast between the two ANCs, with the Capitol Quarter area being split off to join an SMD north of the freeway. This decision would keep ANC 6D at seven commissioners and would make the numbers easier to manage in creating new SMDs 6B. (And would then give 16 commissioners from other neighborhoods in two ANCs a whole lot of power over the future of Near Southeast!)
And even if the task force keeps the "status quo," with 6D's boundaries remaining unchanged (which would seem to have been their initial inclination, given Wednesday night's vote), there's still the question of whether an SMD will span South Capitol Street to include portions of both Near Southeast and Southwest, or if the task force will decide to allow for SMDs with fewer than 1,900 residents, which could possibly give Near Southeast two commissioners and raise 6D's total to eight.
Lots of decisions coming down the pike. But, judging by the utter lack of reader interest in my posts on this subject (looking at the dismal traffic numbers and lack of comments compared to other topics I write about, and in comparison to the outcry that erupted when the possibility of moving Near Southeast to Ward 8 was floated), perhaps most residents don't see ANC boundaries and SMD locations as an issue that effects them one way or the other.